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Credit; City of Rochester

Credit; City of Rochester


Recently-released census data shows some small changes in commuting over time.

There were more people driving alone to work in 2000 than 2013. In 2000, 82 percent of workers – 283,062 people – drove alone to work. That compares to 80 percent in 2013, or 280,819 people. This is interesting because we’re spending $100 million to revamp the Rochester-Brighton-Henrietta 390 corridor, even though there do not appear to be more cars on the road.

Carpooling was more popular in 2000 than 2013. In 2000, 8.4 percent of workers. In 2013, 7.8 percent shared rides to work. But carpooling was only at 7 percent in 2006, so perhaps it’s picking up speed.

Commute times are the same. In 2000, the average commute was 19.6 minutes. In 2013, the average commute was 19.7 minutes.

Credit: City of Rochester

Credit: City of Rochester

More people are taking the bus to work. In 2000, 2.7 percent of workers took public transportation. In 2013, 3.4 percent of workers – nearly 12,000 people – took the bus to work.

More people are walking to work. In 2000, 3.4 percent of people walked to work. In 2013, 3.8 percent of people – more than 13,000 – got to work on two legs.

More people are biking to work. The number of people who bike to work is at a paltry .4 percent. But that’s 1,544 people riding their bicycles to work, up from 1,099 in 2006. Nearly half live in the city. (Before you question bike lanes, consider the fact many more people ride purely for recreation and exercise.)

More people work at home. In 2000, 2.7 percent of people worked at home. In 2013, 3.4 percent – nearly 12,000 people – work at home.

In our car-centric city, it’s worth noting that 1 in 8 people gets to work by walking, biking or riding the bus. That means more than 26,000 people will likely have to cross the road in front of your car and share the road with your car. Let’s be sure to watch out for them.

Update: Some are asking whether the workforce was bigger in 2000. According to the census, there were 345,019 people 16 and over commuting to work in 2000, compared to 349,802 in 2013.


Links of the Day:


– Throwing money at developers doesn’t create new business. It moves business around. Here’s a good Rochester example.

– American sports franchises are selling their cities short. Stadiums are not good investments!

– Wow. Cuomo and Hochul spent $5.9 million on the primary.

– A University of Wisconsin fraternity is suspected of drugging women at a party.

– This essay from New York Times columnist Charles Blow about sexual abuse, sexuality and learning to love himself is painfully honest and quite beautiful.


Help Fight Poverty:


Women's Foundation logoIf you like my blog posts, we can chat about them in person! Consider joining my team on October 26 for the Women’s Foundation of Genesee Valley 5k and Walk. Donations of any amount – no matter how small – would also be appreciated. I am the honorary chair of this event. The Women’s Foundation helps women and girls become economically self-sufficient. It’s a great organization that deserves more attention for its important work in Rochester.

Skyline - featured 220X165We know Rochester has great commute times, but not all of us get to work in the average 20 minutes.

The U.S. Census came out with a report on mega-commuters, people who travel long distances to get to their jobs. The study showed 600,000 people take 90 minutes and travel 50 miles to get to work. Nearly 11 million people travel an hour each way. In the  Washington D.C. area, super long commutes are normal. (It sounds like a miserable existence.)

There are about 350,000 people living in Monroe County who have jobs. The vast majority  of those jobs are in Monroe County. But a sizable group crosses county lines to go to work. Here are the number of Monroe County residents who commute to the following counties:

Ontario County: 7,085 (12,428 Ontario County residents commute to Monroe County. 2,518 commute to Wayne County.)

Wayne County: 3,453 (15,257 Wayne County residents commute to Monroe County. 4,039 commute to Ontario County.)

Livingston County: 1,467

Genesee County: 1,208

Erie County: 1,025 (1,241 Erie County residents commute to Monroe County.)

Orleans County: 906

Onondaga County: 579

It’s clear Ontario County’s boom has shifted jobs east. It’s interesting to note that despite the close proximity of Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse, there aren’t a lot of people commuting among the cities. That’s probably because all offer affordable housing.

Links of the Day:

– Batavia was named a hotbed of expanding and relocating businesses.

– Syracuse residents, tired of waiting for the city, put up their own surveillance cameras. (I’d like to see a study done on the effectiveness of Rochester’s camera network. Does it deter crime? Are crimes often caught on tape? Do the cameras lead to arrests?)

Gunshot wounds drive up healthcare costs.

Is poker fading?

Car Keys

Rochester consistently ranks highly for having short commutes and rush hours that would make commuters in other cities weep with joy. The average commute in the Flower City is about 20 minutes.

But short commutes don’t necessarily equate to efficient commutes, according to the annual Urban Mobility Report put out by Texas A&M Transportation Institute. While Rochester tops best commute lists, out of 101 metros, it ranks in the middle of the pack for excess fuel consumed (60), commuter stress (63) and delays (63).

Consider these findings for Rochester commuters in 2011:

  • Rush hour travelers burned through an extra 6,719,000 gallons of fuel being stuck in traffic, or 13 gallons per commuter.
  • Rush hour travelers sat a combined 14,850,000 hours in traffic, or 28 hours per commuter.
  • We released an extra 134 million pounds of CO2, or 257 pounds per commuter.
  • Traffic delays cost us a combined $309 million, or $590 per commuter.

The data shows since 1991, Rochester rush hour commuters have doubled the amount of fuel wasted and excess CO2 emitted.

Rochester’s 20 minute commutes may be tops in the country. But some of those minutes are clearly wasted time and fuel.

Read the Rochester data in the report.

Links of the Day:

– A Rochester City School District administrator denied tenure wants his job back.

– Not having learned, Niagara Falls is pinning its hopes on a second, Vegas-style casino.

The Canadian penny is heading toward extinction.

– Older Syracuse residents are buying iPads now that the newspaper doesn’t print every day.

Here’s a great explainer on how to avoid Time Warner Cable’s modem fee.